Potato originates from the Andes region in South America. After the discovery of the Americas it was brought to Europe where it quickly became an important staple food.
Highest production of potatoes is in China, India, Russia, Ukrain, USA, Germany and Poland.
The tubers of the potato plant are used as main staple food (energy supply) or as a vegetable. They are usually eaten boiled, baked or fried.
The fruits of the potato plants are not edible.
In 2010 the estimated world production of Potato was 324,181,889 Metric Tons (source FAOSTAT), which corresponds to about 47 kg per person (in 2010 the world had about 6.9 billion persons).
Pomme de terre
Basic information and facts
Andes (southern Peru)
Main producers of potato are China, India, Russia, Ukraine, USA, Germany, Poland, Bangladesh, France and Netherlands. Netherlands is also an important of seed potato.
Annual, biennial, or perennial:
There are thousands of varieties, all with different size, color, taste, disease resistance and other characteristics.
Flowers can have different colors, often white, pink or purple flowers, but also red or blue. The stamens are yellow.
The fruits are toxic and should not be eaten. They resemble small cherry tomatoes but with a green color.
Climate and weather:
Type of soil:
Spacing (close range)
Spacing (wide range)
Vegetative propagation using “seed potatoes” which are not seeds but tubers (or pieces of tubers) that are planted in the soil. When developing new potato varieties these are grown from true seeds.
Insects and other pests:
An important insect pest is the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), also called Colorado beetle or Ten-striped spearman. Other pests include potato tuber moth, green peach aphid (Myzus persicae), potato aphid, thrips, mites and the Potato root nematode.
The most devastating disease is late blight (Phytophthora infestans). Other diseases include: Rhizoctonia, Sclerotinia, powdery mildew, leafroll virus and purple top.
Dig up the mature tubers, for example with a hoe.
Large fields are harvested with specialized harvesting machines. They lift the potatoes from the bed using a share and then use big sieves to separate them from the soil.
Most potatoes are consumed as a staple food or as a vegetable. They can be prepared in many ways (boiled, fried, mashed, etc.) They are also used to brew alcoholic beverages (e.g. vodka) or as food for domestic animals. Potato starch is used as a thickener or binder in soups and sauces.
Proverbs and Quotes
- A meat and potatoes person. (this means someone who prefers plain and simple things)
- To be tossed around like a hot potato.
- It is easy to halve the potato where there is love.
- My idea of heaven is a great big baked potato and someone to share it with. (Oprah Winfrey)
Did you know that?
- Fruits of the potato plants are toxic and therefore unsuitable for human consumption.
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